2016 Worlds: Knockout Stage Begins

The past two weeks have been full of turmoil for the North American hopefuls in this 2016 World Championship, as a repeat of last year seemed to be on the brink of recurring. With CLG and TSM both sporting a very strong first week and seemingly dropping their mojo altogether for week 2, we were all very sad to see them disqualified from the Knockout Stage and the Quarterfinals in Chicago after looking so promising early on. Could it be the pressure that makes the NA teams so reliably shaky as Worlds goes on? Or possibly that the other teams just step up their game? All have been questions on our minds this year for the World Championship. Thankfully, Cloud 9 pulled off a qualification for quarterfinals in Chicago, and now the entire hope of the North American region rests on Cloud 9’s shoulders. Aside from the emotional rollercoaster that Worlds has been for NA in particular, almost every game has been absolutely amazing to watch, and I think the best way to describe how things happened would just be “weird.”

Among the list of weirdness of Worlds so far, we’ve seen a Kennen support, the Korean giants SKT on a losing streak, the favorites going into the tournament (ROX Tigers) being upset by NA’s own CLG, the Brazilian INTZ taking down the Edward Gaming powerhouse, the Baltic wildcard region’s Albus NoX Luna making it to the Knockout Stage, and Samsung Galaxy NOT catching on fire and/or exploding. We hope to see an equal amount of craziness moving into the next stage of the tournament, as it’s made for an exceptionally entertaining list of games thus far, and in my opinion, it’s been the most entertaining World Championship of League of Legends since the tourney’s inception. Even though 3 of Korea’s teams made it as the number 1 seed of their respective groups into the next stage, it’s very refreshing to see so many other regions putting up such a hell of a fight, and SKT’s Faker saying that NA’s solo queue is as tough as Korea’s doesn’t hurt anything either. I believe we can expect to see the other regions of the world steadily increase in talent and actually affect the metagame even more than they are already.

For a comprehensive tourney bracket, make sure to visit Riot’s official bracket page. Below, make sure to checkout the first matchups of the Knockout Stage.

October 13th at 6pm: Cloud 9 vs. Samsung Galaxy.

October 14th at 6pm: SK Telecom T1 vs. Royal Never Give Up.

October 15th at 6pm: ROX Tigers vs. Edward Gaming.

October 16th also at 6pm: H2K vs. Albus NoX Luna.

As a side note, Riot has updated their page on the prize pool for the overall tournament, based on player purchases of the Championship Zed and Championship Ward skins. Click here to check it out!

See you in Chicago! Good luck to all teams, and hopefully we can be as shocked and entertained just as often as we were in Groups.

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Editor-in-Chief and Owner of Smite Steal Esports | Follow me on Twitter @aaronmickunas

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